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Public invited to April 26 “topping off” ceremony celebrating patient tower milestone

April 20, 2018

BEND, Ore. — With the construction of St. Charles Bend’s new patient tower more than halfway complete, the public is invited to celebrate the occasion with a “topping off” ceremony April 26, during which one of the last pieces of structural steel will be put in place by a crane.

This week patients, caregivers and visitors are signing the steel beam—located near the main entrance of the hospital—and becoming a lasting part of the history of the three-year, $66 million project, which is expected to be complete in May 2019.

The largest construction project since the St. Charles Cancer Center, the patient tower will be located north of the existing Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and stand three stories tall, with space for 28 additional inpatient beds and 24 ICU beds. The project was designed by architects NBBJ and is being built by local crews from Skanska.

“Our new state-of-the-art ICU rooms will be spacious, allowing for the highest quality of care to be delivered, as well as provide a healing space for family members to stay with loved ones,” said Iman Simmons, chief operating officer.

St. Charles Bend is often full due partly to population growth and also because the health system has recruited more specialists in recent years that provide a higher level of complex care requiring intensive care hospital stays post-surgery. On most days, nine out of 10 inpatient beds are occupied. Last year alone, nearly 200 ICU patients were transferred out of the area for lack of beds.

Built in the early 1990s, St. Charles Bend’s ICU also has undersized rooms that become overcrowded with caregivers and equipment. The new building and additional bed capacity will alleviate bottlenecks in patient flow and provide patients with the focused care they need.

As part of the project, St. Charles—which is celebrating its 100-year anniversary this year—is also partnering with caregivers, physicians and members of the community to raise $10 million for the addition.

“One element that has remained constant over the past 100 years is the community’s unwavering commitment of time and money. Our community has always stepped up to support St. Charles so we can, in turn, support the health of the community,” said Lisa Dobey, executive director of community and philanthropy. “We’re asking community members to join with us again and continue the legacy of giving by helping fund some of this critically needed project.”

The April 26 topping off ceremony, which starts at 5 p.m., will take place at the St. Charles Bend tower construction site on Loop Road across from Pilot Butte Medical Center. Light refreshments will be served.

About St. Charles Health System

St. Charles Health System, Inc., headquartered in Bend, Ore., owns and operates St. Charles Bend, Madras, Prineville and Redmond. It also owns family care clinics in Bend, Madras, Prineville, Redmond and Sisters. St. Charles is a private, not-for-profit Oregon corporation and is the largest employer in Central Oregon with more than 4,200 caregivers. In addition, there are more than 350 active medical staff members and nearly 200 visiting medical staff members who partner with the health system to provide a wide range of care and service to our communities.